Thursday, March 23, 2017

week 9

Professor Shansky was not lying when she said these papers would be interesting. I found these articles so interesting to read, I forgot that I was actually reading these for class opposed to some interesting article found online in my spare time. I always knew that the bacteria in our gut played a huge role in our actions and behavior, but I hadn’t realized how important a role in the brain’s activity gut bacteria had. A doctor once told me that, “The gut is a human’s second brain, if there is an imbalance in the bacteria’s flora than there will be alterations in the brain’s chemistry.”  The first article by Buffington et al. was by far my favorite article we have read this whole semester. I am very interested in mother-infant research and this paper certainly peaked my interests.  To me, this paper flowed effortlessly compared to the paper by Reber et al, all their experiments were led by a question formed in the previous experiment. A couple of things that I found interesting though in this paper: how did they test which offspring of the mother high-fat diet (MHFD) group were on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Did they just assume that all the MHFD offspring were ASD? Secondly, I was very surprised to see that the MHFD and the mothers on regular diet (MRD) had no significance difference in litter size. Working in the Labor and Delivery floor at BMC, I usually saw mothers with high BMIs have larger babies. I am unsure if this has actually been studied as a result of obesity or not but I would have thought to see the MHFD litter size to be larger than the MRD litter size. I also did not quite understand why they administered oxytocin directly to the groups to show that increased oxytocin rescued social behaviors if administering L. reuteri already increased oxytocin enough to rescue social behaviors. Although the Reber et al. was not my favorite article it was extremely interesting and I thought effectively proved their results in their experiments. To me, both these articles present a very simple treatment, rather preventive for stress related psychiatric disorders or to normalize microbiome imbalance, for the effects of bacteria flora on the brain and body. 

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